Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, volunteer organisations that employ people become a “person conducting a business or undertaking” (PCBU). PCBUs are responsible for ensuring the health and safety of their workers and others, and currently could be prosecuted under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
At Select Committee stage right now, and open for submissions, is the Health and Safety at Work (Volunteer Associations) Amendment Bill. This bill proposes to update the definition of volunteer associations to include those that employ people for no more than 100 hours per week (effectively 2.5 FTEs). Under the new definition, such organisations would not be classed as a PCBU. This means they would remain a Volunteer Association and couldn’t be prosecuted under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Whilst critics might say that all employers should have a responsibility to look after their employees under the Act, we are all aware of the increasing compliance pressures being put on volunteers in sports clubs. This Bill could introduce a critical amendment for clubs in the Sport and Recreation space. It acknowledges the important work that volunteer associations in New Zealand do, and the fact that these organisations often need to employ people. It would minimise compliance time and costs for these organisations.
You may agree and want to submit accordingly. You might also wish to forward this information on to your club network for them to also weigh in on the matter.
There are two potential ways to have a say on this Bill.
- You could go to the trouble of making a separate standalone submission, by going to the NZ Parliament website on the page linked here, and clicking on the MAKE A SUBMISSION dialogue box. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_76427/health-and-safety-at-work-volunteer-associations-amendment
- You can add your name to a petition that is being assembled by our colleagues in Sport Waikato, in favour of the change being proposed, which will be presented to the Select Committee by the due date. Just click on the button below and follow the instructions.
Sign the petition to ensure that this definition is changed – which could help volunteer associations across New Zealand. Sport Waikato will submit the petition to Parliament by 29th June 2018.